Tag Archives: Fashion Business

How to Become Fashion Designer ( Part 5 ) – Fulfilling Your Vision

Becoming Your Own Fashion Designer

I know some of you may have been disappointed by the realities we exposed in our “How to Become a Fashion Designer” article series. Our apologies, but we had to destroy the bliss of naivety to spare you from many rude awakenings when you start your fashion career! That being said, I’m sure there are also some of you who are determined to become that ideal vision of a fashion designer: create your own label, design your own fashion lines, runway fashion show and the whole nine. We commend your ambitiousness and of course, we are here to help! Here’s our suggested approach to become your own fashion designer.

Learn the Fashion Biz

First thing’s first, and we’ve all heard it a million times: Fashion is first and foremost a business. Yes it’s true – you could have the best apparel collection in the world, but if you don’t have the business savvy to manage your fashion design operations or market yourself; you’re in for a rough and disappointing journey in the fashion industry. Countless talented fashion designers try creating an apparel line without the proper business foundation to support them. Issac Mizrahi, and Narciso Rodriguez are just a few well-known fashion designers whose fashion careers were almost destroyed by their lack of business knowledge.

We highly recommend educating yourself and taking business courses- either in school or on your own. Really get to know the fashion industry. However, if for some reason you prefer not to, you should at the very least seek a knowledgeable (and trustworthy) business partner to handle that end for you.

Finding a Niche

Concerning the actual apparel designs, if you want to make your mark and get noticed in the fashion industry, you have to make sure your apparel designs stand out amongst the swarm of pretty outfits already crowding the runways. If your vision for your collection is just to design “pretty” clothes, the chances of your work getting noticed are like finding a needle in a haystack! The cliché word of advice is to design for a niche market. But what does that mean?

A Cause for Design

Here’s our take on finding a niche: find a cause, and design for that cause. Choose something that you’re passionate about, or pick a theme and design for that theme. Create a trademark that you will become known for. Betsey Johnson is known for her funky, outrageous, one-of-a-kind garments that reflect her quirky personality. Diesel created their highly functional, hardware driven signature style from the construction worker lifestyle. When apparel designs are consistently focused around a specific element or concept, they will receive more attention and that concept will become your design signature. Once your fashion line is established and well known, you can always expand. And whatever you decide on, make sure it’s something you believe in; something you are passionate about. When your fashion designs come from the heart, it shows, and you’re inspiration will be endless.

Get Your Name Out There!

So once you’ve selected your cause and designed an extraordinary apparel collection around it, how do you make sure your fashion designs get publicity? Fortunately, modern technology makes promoting yourself a much easier task. There are tons of venues that showcase emerging fashion designers such as nolcha.com and haute.net (See the Independent and Underground Fashion at our Resource Center for more links). There you will find underground designer showcases that give beginner designers their own venue space. You bring the designs – they bring in the crowds.

In the past few years, an underground fashion revolution has emerged, creating a shift in the apparel industry. Consumers are tired of apparel fashion clothing that is dictated by an elite few fashion designers, and have begun searching for more unique, down to earth sources for their apparel & fashion needs. New waves of fashion designers are discovered in unconventional places and recognized for their individual fashion design styles. Educating yourself, knowing the business, designing for a cause you love, and promoting yourself through new avenues are all steps in the right direction towards having the fashion design career you’ve always envisioned!

Source: Designernexus.com

 

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Fashion Designer Career Information

Fashion Designers Overview

Fashion designers with a 2-year degree or 4-year degree in fashion design who are knowledgeable in fashion trends, fabric, and textiles are what employers are looking for. Due to the creativity and glamour of the job, there is a lot of competition to become a fashion designer. Most jobs for fashion designers are in California and New York.

Nature of the Work for Fashion Designers

Fashion Designers
Fashion designers study fashion trends, sketch designs of clothing and accessories, select colors and fabrics, and oversee the final production of their designs in order to produce clothing items and accessories that consumers want to purchase. Fashion designers can work in men’s, women’s, and children’s apparel, including intimate apparel and maternity wear.


Many fashion designers specialize in clothing, footwear or accessories but some enjoy creating designs for all three. Between 18 and 24 months, fashion designers begin their design process and turn it into a final production. A fashion designer’s first step is to research trends in current fashion and to predict the trends that will follow. Whether they use trend reports or do their own research, fashion designers rely on the research to indicate what styles, colors, and fabrics will be popular in the upcoming season.

Trend reports and research are also important to textile manufacturers who use the information to begin designing patterns and fabric simultaneously with the fashion designer who is sketching the design. Once a fashion designer’s sketch is complete, the fashion designer and manufacturer meet to discuss fabric and pattern choices.

A prototype is created once the design and fabric are agreed upon which uses cheaper materials as a model to make any necessary adjustments.

Once a fashion designer make a decision, article samples are made and distributed to clothing retailers. Fashion designers can also see their design at fashion and trade shows throughout the year.

Though many fashion designers sketch by hand, many use computer-aided design (CAD) to translate the sketches into the computer where fashion designers can view their designs on virtual models.

The involvement of a fashion designer depends on the size of the design firm and experience. For large design firms, fashion designers usually take on the role as lead designer who create designs, choose colors and fabric and oversee the technical designers responsible for turning the idea into a final product. Large firms may also employ their own pattern makers and tailors as well. For fashion designers working in smaller firms, a bulk of their work includes overseeing technical aspects, pattern making, and sewing. Some fashion designers choose to work for apparel wholesalers or manufacturers. This involves fashion designers to design for the masses where designs come in various colors and sizes.

Many fashion designers are also self-employed and design for individual clients as well as those who sell their designs to retail or specialty stores. Fashion designers in costume design for motion picture, performing arts or television productions perform extensive research on certain styles and eras and then draw sketches, select fabrics and oversee production. They may also be restricted to a costume budget.

Fashion designers employed by manufacturing establishments, wholesalers, or design firms will usually work normal and regular hours while those who freelance can either work by job or under a contract. Freelance fashion designers can work long hours in smaller environments where pressure is intense from clients. Whether fashion designers work in large firms, small firms, or freelance, long hours will occasionally be necessary for all fashion designer who have to meet deadlines or prepare for fashion shows.

Communication is essential for fashion designers who are constantly dealing with suppliers, customers and manufactures.

Fashion designers may also need to travel for fashion shows or to get fabric.

Training, Other Qualifications and Advancement for Fashion Designers

A fashion designer typically needs an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree in fashion design in order to find employment. Fashion designers who may be thinking about running their own business or store may also combine a fashion design degree with a business,marketing, or fashion merchandising degree. Typical courses for an associate or bachelor’s degree in fashion design includes color, textiles, sewing and tailoring, pattern making, fashion history and computer-aided design (CAD). Taking courses in human anatomy, mathematics, and psychology can also be useful for understanding the body and how to run a company.

Around 300 postsecondary institutions with programs in art and design are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. Most schools expect a basic art or design course to be completed before formal admittance into a program is allowed. Sketches may also be requested before admittance.

Interning, working at manufacturing firms, working at retail stores or with a personal stylist can help fashion designers learn the necessary skills of the industry.

Those who want to become successful fashion designers can also enter their designs into amateur or student contents.

Fashion designers must have a strong aesthetic, good communication skills, be able to problem solve and sketch. A good portfolio is also important for an aspiring fashion designer to have. The ability to work well in teams is also important for fashion designers who will remain in contact with manufacturers, supplies, and buyers.

Though design is a big part of becoming a fashion designer, they must also be knowledgeable in pattern making and sewing. Knowledge of these skills will make it easier for fashion designers to instruct others on how garments should be constructed.

Those starting out as fashion designers usually begin as sketching assistants for pattern markers. After working for an experienced designer, fashion designers may be able to advance to such positions as design department head or chief designer.

Some fashion designers also go on to start their own business or begin selling their designs to stores.

Top 10 Most Popular Fashion / Apparel Schools

1. Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, New York)
2. The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising – Los Angeles (Los Angeles, California)
3. The New School (New York, New York)
4. Academy of Art University (San Francisco, California)
5. International Academy of Design and Technology (Multiple Campus Locations)
6. Iowa State University (Ames, Iowa)
7. Katharine Gibbs School – New York City (New York, New York)
8. Savannah College of Art and Design (Savannah, Georgia)
9. The Illinois Institute of Art – Chicago (Chicago, Illinois)
10. Virginia Commonwealth University – Richmond (Richmond, Virginia)

See All Fashion/Apparel Design Schools

Online School: The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division

Employment and Job Outlook for Fashion Designers

Number of People in Profession

15,780

Changing Employment (2008-2018)

Employment is projected to little or no change (decrease or increase by 2%).

Job Opportunities & Competition

May face, or can expect, keen competition for job opportunities. Job openings may be fewer than job seekers.

About 15,780 jobs are held by fashion designers, 31 percent work for apparel, piece goods, and wholesalers while 13 percent work for apparel manufacturers.

With a high demand for clothing, footwear, and accessories, some new jobs may open for fashion designers. Middle-income consumers are demanding affordable yet stylish clothing which means fashion designers will be needed in apparel wholesalers.

Since most apparel manufacturing is done overseas, cut and sew manufacturing jobs will likely decline.

Design firms that design mass-market clothing in department stores and retail stores will offer the most job opportunities for fashion designers.

Earnings and Salary for Fashion Designers

Median annual wages for salaried fashion designers are $64,260. The middle 50 percent earn between $44,110 and $90,020. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $32,320, and the highest 10 percent earn more than $130,900.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

Source: Campusexplorer.com

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